1 PETER 4:12 – Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
THEME OF THE DAY. REACTING TO TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS. We are told the journey to heaven will not be traveled on a flowery bed of ease. It will include a road filled with many “potholes” of trials and temptations. Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The Apostle Paul also reminds us, “But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:20-22). And in today’s scripture, Peter tells us not to be caught off guard when they come. It is simply a reality in living in a sin-cursed world. However, God’s Word still reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). “All things” include those trials and temptations which come our way, but there is a catch. Our response to trials and temptations helps determine if they really do work for our good. So, let’s consider three ways we may respond when temptations or trials come.
First, when a temptation to sin comes, we may give into it. This would occur by allowing the alluring pleasures of the temptation to override spiritual reasoning and warning. Whatever the temptation may be; lust, coveting, or some other form of fleshly satisfaction, put our eyes on its pleasure, and we will rush into soul-damaging sin. It will taste so good in the initial “bite”, but it will prove a painful heart poison soon filling our inner being with sorrow, regret, and conviction. Allow Moses to be our model when temptation to enjoy the pleasures of sin comes our way, “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward“ (Hebrews 11:24-26).
Next, we may respond in a trial with a complaining heart. Take time to read Exodus 16:1-4 and observe the way God’s people responded to His testing; they complained. When it comes to complaining in a trying circumstance, we are really complaining of God’s sovereignty. Think about this act of rebellion. God sent the trial to build our faith, yet, a complaining heart changes an opportunity for growth into a time of chastisement.
The third response in a trial or temptation is the best and promotes the reasons for both – the development of our faith and growth in the virtue of patience. The Apostle James informs us of these precious heart works in the Christian who endures trials, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3).
And when it comes to our responses, God has given us the ability to choose what is profitable for our souls and brings us closer to Him in the trial or temptation. However, He will not choose for us. That is up to us. May we choose wisely every time trial or temptation comes knocking on the door of our hearts.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to react to trials and temptations in the way that always glorifies you.”
QUOTE: “Trials and temptations are tools for our developing or steps to sin. The choice is ours”